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Pacquiao protege upgraded to stable

November 14, 2009 |  4:18 pm

Filipino bantamweight boxer Z Gorres, a protege of six-time world champion Manny Pacquiao, was ungraded to stable condition in a Las Vegas hospital hours after being carried from the ring following a unanimous-decision victory over Colombian Juan Melendez at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay on Friday.

"He's conscious and responding to stimuli," said Keith Kizer of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. "All in all, it's pretty good news."

Gorres was dominating the fight until Melendez caught him with a quick left cross with about 25 seconds left in the 10th and final round. Gorres barely beat the count to get back to his feet and appeared wobbly, struggling to survive the final seconds of the bout, said Kizer.

"He held on the last 10 seconds but his eyes were gone," said a photographer who was ringside. "He was gone."

After celebrating his victory by circling the ring with a Philippine flag, Gorres returned to his corner and tried to climb through the ropes to leave the ring. But he became dizzy and couldn't lift his legs and ringside doctors immediately raced to the boxer's aid. Gorres was given oxygen and carried from the ring on a stretcher, but Kizer said he never lost consciousness before being rushed to the trauma unit at University Medical Center.

Gorres underwent surgery to relieve severe swelling to the left side of his head. Initial reports said doctors intended to keep the boxer in a medically induced coma for a few days, but Kizer indicated Gorres has responded to treatment much better than anticipated. Kizer credited the quick work of the ringside doctors and emergency medical personnel, who were under the direction of Bill Berliner.

"They got him out of there as quick as they could," Kizer said. "It was the best [effort] I've ever seen."

Gorres (31-2-1)  is part of the Pacquiao stable training out of the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. He began boxing at the age of 9 and was thought to be in line for a shot at the world bantamweight title. Kizer said it's too early to say if he'll make a complete recovery.

"We'll have to wait and see," he said. "It's a dangerous sport, getting hit in the head."

-- Kevin Baxter